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Glorious Light

October 27, 2015
DSC_0790The end of October greets us with the end of Day Light savings.  As I type, it is total darkness outside and we are thinking of ways to heat our house!  Many in Northern Ireland are more susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)  as we are situated in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere where there are large changes in light between summer and winter.  We also experience periods of dark, gloomy weather which further reduces the light we receive and therefore has a profound effect on our body clocks.
What I am finding at East Belfast Mission is those people who already suffer with depression and other low moods are now buried under an extra layer of sadness.  What they coped with reasonably well just a month ago now feels unbearable.  One of the dear people I work with said it is like, “a heavy blanket covering over me, and I don’t know how to get it off…I feel choked and angry with who I’ve become.”
Can glorious light shine out of the depths of despair?  Even if we don’t struggle with depression but experience weariness, loss, busyness from school runs, dishes, meals, people, even church, is there joy?  Can joy – strong and unshakeable, remain constant?  I probably would have hesitated on answering this until I met an amazing person who has dealt with more than I’ve ever heard before.  Words like cancer, bankruptcy, terminal illness, burying their child and anger are part of the words between us.  I actually wept on hearing such things.   What I also heard was God and love and presence and power and prayer.  Somewhere, with their own blanket of grief covering them is a small glimmer of Hope.  It’s what she holds onto when vomit from cancer and tears of a lost child engulf her.  She is also in the arms of a praying community and the blessings from that are life saving.  Glorious light, even faintly, still shines.  I was deeply encouraged.  DSC_0804
John 1:5-The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness had not overcome it.
     The kids are on half term break which also brings around birthday celebrations.  Ellie turns 11 years on 3 November.  Her creative spirit had me busy working out how to make a macaroon tower and make crepes for the first time!  She is a lover of the American Girl movie Grace, which has a french theme.  Along with her sister and 5 friends I think the “oh la la” was flowing.  We praise God for how she is growing so beautifully (and creatively!).
Please remember her over this coming month as she finally sits three one hour examinations for secondary school.  These tests are the culmination of years of work (though the school she is selected for is not known until May 2016).
Ellie has worked hard these past few months, but more importantly, beyond Maths and English, she is learning to live with forgiveness and truthfulness and her heart is being shaped.  We love the journey she is on and are so proud of her.DSC_0797
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